Thursday, May 01, 2008

Max Dunlap clemency hearing

Max Dunlap, the convicted killer of Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles, is seeking clemency in a hearing tomorrow. He would like to be released from his life sentence because he is 78 years old, suffering from incontinence from diabetes, and unable to walk easily due to a head injury received in prison. He was sentenced to life in prison for his role in paying two men (John Harvey Adamson and James Robison) to kill Bolles with a car bomb. Bolles died 11 days after the explosion, which took place on June 2, 1976 in the parking lot of the Clarendon Hotel in downtown Phoenix.

Although Dunlap has never fingered him, it is widely believed that the hit was ordered and paid for by Arizona liquor wholesaler, land magnate, and organized crime figure Kemper Marley, who was a primary target of Bolles' investigative reporting. (Adamson testified that Marley was behind the murder.) Not only did Marley never spend a day of his life in jail for his role in Bolles' murder or any other crime, he has a building named after him at the University of Arizona--the Kemper Marley College of Agriculture building. He also has a building named after him at my high school alma mater, Brophy College Preparatory, called the Ethel and Kemper Marley Information Commons. He died in 1990 at the age of 83 at a beach home in La Jolla, CA.

Kemper Marley employed former bootlegger Jim Hensley in one of his wholesale liquor businesses, United Liquor, which had a monopoly on liquor distribution in Arizona. In 1948, Hensley was convicted on seven counts of filing false liquor records, and was charged again in 1953, but was found not guilty that time thanks to a defense from attorney William Rehnquist, future chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. By 1955 Hensley had his own Budweiser distributorship.

Hensley's daughter Cindy inherited his fortune in 2000. She now shares it with her husband, Arizona Senator John McCain.

The story of the Hensley fortune--and of how McCain is beholden to liquor interests--is told in a February 17, 2000 Phoenix New Times story, "Haunted by Spirits."

The Arizona Project of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., is a package of stories, photos, and audio about Don Bolles, who was a member of the organization.

UPDATE (July 22, 2009): Max Dunlap died in prison yesterday.

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